Imag­ine if politi­cians apol­o­gised

Weekend Witness - - Opinion - with DUMA PEWA

SO the Ital­ians and the French, both of whom were fi­nal­ists in the 2006 World Cup in Ger­many, have dis­grace­fully bowed out of the World Cup in South Africa, in what must rank among the biggest up­sets in the his­tory of the tour­na­ment.

At least the French were on a go-slow and they did not try to con­ceal this from the pub­lic. The Ital­ians, how­ever, were not only the world lead­ers, but also the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons.

I know that some peo­ple are think­ing that Bafana Bafana also ex­ited dis­grace­fully as they are the first hosts to exit the tour­na­ment dur­ing the group stages but be­ing host does not buy you a pedi­gree, while be­ing the world cham­pi­ons does im­ply you have an im­pres­sive pedi­gree.

Fol­low­ing their exit, Ital­ian coach Mar­cello Lippi took full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the team’s poor per­for­mance.

He did not pass the buck as he apol­o­gised for fail­ing to lift the team tac­ti­cally and phys­i­cally. He did not point fin­gers and he was big enough to take all the blame as the chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer, if you will.

While this does not change what hap­pened, it is re­fresh­ing to hear some­one be­ing hon­est enough and hav­ing the courage to know that the buck stops with them.

What has been good about the World Cup is how our beloved politi­cians have been op­er­at­ing be­low the radar, sus­pi­ciously so, if you ask me.

I would not be sur­prised if we wake up af­ter the World Cup to find that the politi­cians have given them­selves ex­or­bi­tant bonuses, their terms of of­fice have been ex­tended in­def­i­nitely and all op­po­si­tion par­ties have been banned, among var­i­ous new leg­isla­tive en­act­ments.

Lippi’s hon­ourable ac­tions got me think­ing about what lessons we could learn from him as a coun­try, es­pe­cially the politi­cians.

The mere fact that you are part of the process of mak­ing the laws that gov­ern the coun­try does not make you above the law.

Just like the cit­i­zens whovote politi­cians into power, politi­cians can and do make mis­takes. What is crit­i­cal is their ac­tions af­ter they have made the mis­takes.

If only politi­cians could be mod­est and apol­o­gise ev­ery time they err, the world would be a bet­ter place.

Then again, the time set aside for par­lia­men­tary de­bate would be spent ac­cept­ing apolo­gies in­stead.

Maybe they could declare their apolo­gies when they declare their as­sets. But how many of them re­ally declare ev­ery­thing?

While the ANC would need to apol­o­gise for think­ing they are God’s gift to South Africa, Cope’s lead­ers would need to apol­o­gise for hav­ing half a brain and for think­ing they are the party.

It’s like a she­been queen think­ing she is the she­been.

The DA’s Helen Zille would need to apol­o­gise for not only think­ing she is the em­peror of the Cape, but for also those toi­lets with­out doors.

God-Zille, this is not a prob­lem you can flush away. It will con­tinue to stink.

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